“The ground is so wet; it wasn’t like this in the past. We can’t get started on this year’s soil preparation.” In a recent mediation involving farmers, this was the response to my early inquiry about how things were going, generally. These days, I find that the topic of climate change and its effects arises,…

The start of a new decade offers a great opportunity to reflect and plan. There is a growing consensus that the 2020s will be crucial in transforming the way we live and work if we are to have any chance of ensuring the planet is able to accommodate our species. Nearly everything we do is…

If the natural resources of the planet and its capacity to cope with our waste are finite, is it reasonable for mediators to be encouraging people to search for positive sum solutions which can benefit all parties to a negotiation? If you can achieve a win-win in one case could it, on a global scale,…

I owe my recent participation in a very challenging project to my dear friend and mediation partner, Constança Madureira. For some time, she has been able to build a career as a lawyer and associate it with an extensive and respected professional background in the hotel and lodging industry. Having worked in top executive positions…

Previous blog entries on this theme of water have focussed primarily on the process and stalled progress of the Land and Water Forum [LWF] in New Zealand. This was a process intended to bring together most if not all of the stakeholders on questions of water allocation and quality. As we’ve seen earlier, what looked…

The judgment by the Uttarakhand High Court granting entities such as the River Ganga, River Yamuna and more recently the Yamnotri  and Gangotri glaciers the status of legal personality under Articles 48-A & 51 A(g) of India’s constitution was met with loud support. This judgment, delivered mere days after New Zealand’s passing of the Te…

“An action-oriented citizenship is, first and foremost, engaged with other people in the creation of shared social spaces and in the discourse that such spaces make possible. Through participation and conversation, we reproduce our social meanings through time: that is what culture is. Squares and institutions, walkways and stadiums, these are the places where the…

Forty-five years ago, Professor Christopher Stone published a paper entitled “Should Trees have Standing? Towards Legal Rights for Natural Objects”. [45 Southern California Law Review 450–501.] Two years later, that paper had morphed into a book of the same title, with the subtitle, “Law, morality and the Environment” (1974; 3rd ed, 2010; OUP). Stone’s objective…

In two earlier blog posts, I commented on the work of and risks to the Land and Water Forum in New Zealand. That there is cause to write again on this topic begins to feel like shaping up to the blog equivalent of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: a Trilogy in Four Parts…

Nothing is more fundamental to life than water. Water is also a potent fuel for conflict. Access to water has created many disputes through the ages. Conflicts over water are about scarcity, control, degradation, incompatible use, and quality. Their history goes back to much earlier than 2500 BC, when the city-states of Lagash and Umma…